Community development a topic of focus during Coffee With Planners session
Coffee With Planners events are held periodically throughout the year, and bring the government and community together for an open discussion on a variety of topics
RAPID CITY, S.D. — Rapid City’s quarterly Coffee With Planners session gives the public a chance to learn about relevant topics and ask questions to those in the know.
The Community Development Block Grant Program was one of the subjects up for discussion at Wednesday’s event.
“The consolidated plan is the five-year strategic plan for the City’s Community Development Block Grant Program,” said Michelle Schuelke, the community enrichment division manager for the City of Rapid City. “It identifies community needs and also will help drive funding decisions for the Community Development Block Grant Program.”
Coffee With Planners is a quarterly event designed to bring together community members, leaders, developers, and City staff to learn about and discuss ongoing projects.
These one-hour sessions focus on a variety of topics, and allow attendees to rotate between three separate talking circles.
Other topics discussed at this weeks Coffee With Planners included the long-range transportation plan and the regulations around oversize garages.
“There’s a million different ways CDBG can be implemented; our goal is to be effective and efficient and have public buy in,” Schuelke said.
Currently, Community Development is in the process of renewing the consolidated plan, which is required through Housing and Urban Development.
“I will emphasize it’s a draft plan,” Schuelke said. “It’s still open for public comment. It’ll be on the City’s website for intense review.”
Public comment is a major part of the renewal process, and this quarter’s Coffee With Planners session provided another venue to receive feedback.
“These are really important meetings so that we can absorb those questions, evaluate them, and then have responses in the final plan,” Schuelke said.
Several attendees also fielded questions about affordable housing – a priority for the city and community.
“Although affordable housing is a high priority, we only have half a million dollars to address it,” Schuelke said. “So we are a piece of the puzzle; we are one tool to address affordable housing.”
Anyone with feedback on housing or community development needs can submit their comments from August 18 to September 19.
Comments may be made in writing to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Copies of the plans are available here: https://www.rcgov.org/departments/community-planning-development/cdbg-program-division/cdbg-program-division-8389.html
Comments will be accepted beginning August 18. The comment period closes at 4 p.m. September 19.
Once those comments are received, they’ll finalize a plan.
“The five-year plan will be presented in January…December time frame to City Council, and then that cycle will start again in another four-and-a-half-years,” Schuelke said.